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F.E. Warren opens gates to public for D.A. Russell Days

  • Published
  • By Glenn S. Robertson
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

The smell of horses, blacksmithing and gunpowder mingle on the air along with the sounds of a fife, troops calling out commands and the laughing of children. Reenactors wearing blue cavalry uniforms, white and blue colonial minuteman uniforms, and olive-green G.I. uniforms from World War II, among others, could all be found on the field just inside the base gates. 

The 28th Fort D.A. Russell Days open house took place July 21-23, 2023, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, bringing those sights, sounds and smells together for the local community to learn more about the base’s history and mission.

The three-day celebration of F.E. Warren’s mission past and present brought together dozens of people donating hundreds of volunteer hours to ensure the event was a success, according to Daniek Long, 90th Missile Wing Museum curator and director.

“It takes a lot of effort from a lot of people to D.A. Russell Days happen and their efforts do not go unnoticed,” said Daniek Long, “I am immensely grateful to the Airmen who volunteered their time and to the groups from off-base who gave demonstrations who all helped to create this environment.”

The event included demonstrations from reenactors from groups such as the Buffalo Soldiers of the American West, Living History Days, and the Trotters, living history displays, and tours of modern operational sites like the U-01 launch facility trainer and the missile procedures trainer.

Attendance has been slowly recovering since the COVID pandemic, according to Long, with more visitors in attendance this year than in the past two years, along with more organizations participating with demonstrations and reenacting. Additionally, the period-style dance brought in more than 150 people, a record turnout for that event. More than 2,000 people came through the gates to immerse themselves in history, “from muskets to missiles.”

While many visitors to the base were local to the Cheyenne area, some came from much farther away to participate in the open house and get an open door to more of the missile mission.

“My family and I drove up from south central Colorado, mainly to see the missile procedures trainer,” said Carolyn Fisher, a visitor to the base. “My husband retired from the Air Force years ago, but we never saw much of this mission, so we decided to make the trip.”

Though not officially part of Cheyenne Frontier Days, the open house is planned every year to coincide with the Daddy of ‘em All to celebrate the unique relationship between the city and the base.